A fast start helped Montesano earn the undisputed Evergreen 1A League boys basketball title on Feb. 1.
The Bulldogs had too many shooters on the floor for Hoquiam to handle as the Bulldogs eased their way to a 76-57 league title-clinching victory at Hoquiam Square Garden.
Having already been assured of the top-seeded district berth, the Bulldogs nabbed their first league title since 1980.
Montesano (7-1, 16-4) started off the game with a 10-0 run that forced Hoquiam (4-4, 8-13) to call a timeout early on before the game got out of hand.
Hoquiam fought back and stayed within striking distance for most of the game but was never able to pull even with its rivals. The Grizzlies shot only 30 percent from the field.
Trevor Ridgway was a big part of the building and maintaining of Monte’s lead. Ridgway had 23 points, including three 3-pointers.
Ridgway is normally tough to handle but the team’s ball movement was giving guards open looks all night long.
Montesano head coach Doug Galloway said his team shared the ball well against a team that sometimes struggled to close out on shooters and deal with screens.
“We play better when the ball moves and we had the opportunity to move it,” he said. “Our kids were pretty patient and it worked out of us.”
Galloway also got a strong game from Sam Winter, who put up 16 points while playing through an illness. L.J. Valley and Gage Iverson had 10 points each for Monte.
Hoquiam had some success of its own on offense. Matt Brown had another solid game and finished with with 22 points, converting on a lot basket-and-one opportunities after finishing through contact. Payton Quintanilla added 11 points for the Grizzlies.
The Bulldogs came away with 11 steals in the game and got their own points in the paint to keep the lead in double digits for most of the second half. Hoquiam head coach Curtis Eccles said he hopes his team gets better at defending teams like Montesano in its half-court sets.
“At times I thought we did okay, but there’s a lot of room to get better” he said. “You have to give them credit. I thought they did a great job especially in the first half with the transition game and getting open looks.”
District next week
Both teams advance to district competition Thursday. Montesano will host Stevenson and Hoquiam travels to King’s Way Christian.
Stevenson was only 4-5 in league play but plays a high pressure defense and has an offense dominated by skillful guard play.
“They like to get up and press you,” Galloway said. “It’ll likely be a 1-2-1-1 press for the whole game and they like to run. They have Isaac Hoidal, who averages over 20 points a game so it’ll be an inserting game.”
Eccles said his team should be able to take advantage of not playing a game until Feb. 8 to get players healthy and on he same page.
“Fortunately, we have another week to plan for King’s Way Christian so its nice to have some time to prepare for them,” he said. “That’ll give us time to give (injured guard) Jackson Folkers some playing time and get Victor James to 100 percent. It seems like this team just got together a couple of weeks ago so we’re hoping to continue this.”
Montesano 21 17 21 17 — 76
Hoquiam 14 17 15 13 — 57
Montesano (76) — Johansson, Bates 3, Ridgway 23, Nicklas 6, Winter 16, Albert 2, Parker, Wyatt, Valley 10, Farmer 6, Dierkop 10. FG — 29-71 (.408). FT — 7-12.
Hoquiam (57) — Dayton 7, Eccles 3, Larsen 3, Folkers, Quintanilla 11, James 11, Brown 22. FG — 18-60 (.300). FT — 10-15.